Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

Salt Lake City’s mayoral race has been a refreshing class act

Originally published in the Deseret News.

There’s not much inspiration in politics these days. This year, Utahns witnessed a rare exception: the Salt Lake City mayor’s race. The race hit the mark of substance, civility and class. Both state Sen. Luz Escamilla and Salt Lake City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall campaigned in Utah’s capital city with grace, dignity and competence. We are all better for their leadership and example.

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Democratic presidential candidates seem oblivious to how taxes, government spending impact private economy

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I watched with interest the Democratic presidential debate this week. Twelve candidates lined the stage at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, to make their case to lead our nation. The debate covered lots of topics, including segments on foreign policy, health care, the middle class, gun control and more. But what really captured my interest was the dialogue concerning tax and expenditure policies. It’s not clear to me that any of the candidates (with the possible exceptions of entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar) understand how taxes and government spending impact the private economy.

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Utah’s growth challenges are piling up. It’s time to start thinking long term.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt tells a story of being stuck in traffic on I-15 and feeling frustrated. He said to himself, “I thought we fixed this!” Upon further reflection he remembered the I-15 reconstruction during his administration was projected to forestall congestion for about 15 years. Then a news flash hit him … it’s been more than 15 years!

Continue reading Utah’s growth challenges are piling up. It’s time to start thinking long term.

Rising debt is the biggest problem facing America

Originally published in the Deseret News.

There is a memorable line in Ernest Hemingway’s book “The Sun Also Rises,” where a character says. “How did you go bankrupt?” The second person replies, “Two ways, gradually, then suddenly.”

The response provides potent imagery for America’s debt problem. Each day we borrow more, and our debt rises. We are doing fine now — low inflation, low interest rates and full employment. But there’s more to the story. Bad things happen gradually before they happen suddenly.

This, in a nutshell, is America’s borrowing problem.

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Salt Lake City belongs to all Utahns

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Next week Salt Lake City voters will select their final two candidates for mayor. Meanwhile, the 94% of Utahns who live outside the capital city and who don’t have a vote will watch as finalists emerge. Why should all Utahns care about this choice?

I have a simple answer: Salt Lake City belongs to all Utahns.

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After all these years, Utah is still the right place

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I love July in Utah because of the twin holidays of nationhood and statehood. We celebrate our independence as a country and our pioneering history as a state. The long summer days and two large parades provide a chance to reflect upon what it means to be an American and a Utahn.

I’m a fifth-generation American and Utahn. My great-great-grandfather — Howard Egan — emigrated from Tullamore, Ireland to Canada, became an orphan at age 13, found work in Salem, Massachusetts as a rope maker, converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made the long trek West to help establish the Salt Lake Valley and later planned and rode in the Pony Express.

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Forming a more perfect union

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I saw “Hamilton” last week, the Broadway musical that chronicles the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The acclaimed show, with its hip-hop beat and powerful storyline, celebrates America’s founding, while featuring challenging questions about race, immigration, privilege and human frailty. The play delivers cultural criticism with fun, style and even grace. The Fourth of July offers a great time to ponder America’s founding and our “lived experience” as we seek a more perfect union.

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Generational change will impact the 2020 Utah governor’s race

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I grew up with a large weather vane atop the family garage. I enjoyed watching it shift as the winds changed. During a winter storm, southeasterly winds signaled lake-effect snow. In summer time, northeasterly winds often brought rain. Our weather vane served not only as an architectural feature but also as an indicator about the future.

The winds of change are blowing in Utah. Over the next several years, Utah’s weather vane will turn as Utah’s baby-boom generation passes the leadership baton to the Generation X and millennial generations. I view this change as an inflection point with profound implications for Utah’s future.

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Romney’s maiden speech spurs memories of D-Day and the cause of freedom

Originally published in the Deseret News.

At the invitation of Ann Romney, I attended Sen. Mitt Romney’s maiden speech in the U.S. Senate this week. There in the Senate gallery with approximately 30 other guests of Ann Romney and 75 or so additional onlookers, we listened as Sen. Romney spoke with vision and clarity about U.S.-China relations and the need for a comprehensive strategy to protect U.S. interests. His speech, combined with this week’s 75th anniversary of D-Day, strengthened my resolve to support and align with freedom-loving people around the world.

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Why Utah should be the birthplace of the fourth industrial revolution.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Theresa Foxley leads Utah’s nonprofit economic development organization. Her association, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, works with private industry and state and local government to attract and grow high-value companies. I recently attended a meeting where Foxley heralded Utah’s potential to serve as a “cradle” for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I really like her idea.

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